October 5, 2008
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Hailey stood before her burning home, her tears of pain and loss drying before they fell from her face. She could feel the heat of the fire standing nearly fifty yards away in the street. The crackle of fire seemed to be the only thing she could hear. Finally, she tore her eyes away from the horrid sight and looked sadly upon her mother who was crying on her knees. Her sobs only added to the guilt in Hailey’s heart, and she turned away staring at the sky instead. As she watched the dark smoke cloak the night sky, she couldn’t help but moan in grief. She wrapped her arms around her chest and heaved a great sob. How she longed to go back in time, to be able to warn her dear sister about the blaze. Lauren was still trapped inside the blazing home. Hailey remembered running down the hall towards her sister’s room to warn her about the blaze that had started in the kitchen. She had almost been there when a fireman had gripped her shoulder from behind, pulling her back. The man had had no idea that a poor life had still been in the room, and the heat had taken Hailey’s breath away, leaving her with no way to tell him about her sister. She had been dragged outside where her mother had taken her in her arms crying her heart out.

Everyone had been awakened by the screaming and now stood outside the house, some on their knees praying for Lauren, while others simply stared with sorrow in their eyes, already giving up hope. A scream from inside the burning building drew her attention back to the present. Another moan escaped her, knowing it wasn’t her fault, or anyone else’s for that matter, but she felt the most responsible for her dying sister. Helplessness settled a seed in her heart as more screaming came from inside the house. Her mom began crying harder, her arm stretched towards the house, reaching for her daughter. Hailey imagined her father then; his bright blue eyes, his wide grin. She remembered feeling exactly like this, except she had been about four years younger. Her father had been lost in a kitchen fire as well. He had died trying to save Lauren and Hailey. Seeing her father’s face, and knowing the same fate was about to happen to Lauren caused anger to flare in her heart. She would not lose another loved one to the flames of death. Her lips tightened, silencing the moans in her throat. Her eyes narrowed towards the house, and another scream erupted again. This one was faint, dying with each second Lauren breathed. She was dying. The firemen had no way to go into the building without fear of certain death. One man had tried to go inside, in one final attempt to save Lauren. The man had come out burning from head to toe. He had run across the lawn toward everyone screaming. He had then stopped halfway there, his eyes already lifeless. He had fallen to the grass, scorched and dead. No one had dared get near the house after that.

Hailey’s anger flared brighter in her chest. She squeezed her fists together and knew what she must do. She looked once more to her mother, who had glanced up at Hailey’s anger. She must have seen something in Hailey’s eyes, maybe her determination to complete what she must do. But whatever she found had her eyes widening, and her lips mouthing the word “No!”. New tears burst from her eyes. Hailey knew that the result of her saving her sister might leave her mother grieving forever. But Hailey knew her sister was the one who had to live. Already in eighth grade, Lauren was taking high school level tests and exams. She was excelling far past anyone in her school. She was the daughter who everyone knew would succeed. Though Hailey had very good grades, everyone knew Lauren would go farther in life than Hailey. Hailey knew she had to do this, for her family.

She gave her mother a small smile. Her mother screamed as Hailey took off running towards the blazing building. Hailey heard many other shouts from behind, her neighbors, her mother, and even strangers she didn’t know who had come to try to help. Hailey sped faster as she realized she was the only one who could do any good here. The burning house rose higher before Hailey as she sped closer. Her sister’s screams had died away caught in the flames and smoke. Hailey knew she did not have much time. As she came within a few yards of the burning door, she did not falter but willed herself forward faster than she had ever run in her life. She raised her arms in front of her face as she burst through the doors. Her clothes instantly caught on fire, but she did not pay attention to her burning clothes. The heat she had felt outside seemed like nothing compared to the heat inside the house. Her eyes watered immediately and her eyebrows singed. Sweat drenched her body, clutching her burning clothes to her skin. Hailey’s eyes fought to see through the thick curtain of smoke in front of her. She knew her home better than the back of her hand, but with the flames and smoke, it seemed like a stranger’s home.

She trudged forward, bringing her shirt front up to cover her mouth and nose. The flames around her licked her bare arms and legs, but she ignored the flaring pain. She could just barely hear her sister crying through the crackles of the flames around her. She tried to follow the crying through the house. At one instant she had come upon the kitchen, the source of the fire. She could see what had made the fire start. The oven below the stove was open and burnt black. Something must have caused the gases inside to erupt, starting the blaze. Hailey wiped her drenched forehead, coughing and choking. Lauren’s room was not far.

She walked down the hall, keeping her hand on the wall for guidance. Her vision kept blurring with tears, and she constantly had to wipe her eyes, her hand always coming away with soot and tears. Hailey’s body began trembling under the heat, but she pushed herself forward with all her will. Nearly blinded by the smoke, her hand finally came to rest on a door handle. A scream escaped Hailey as she jerked her hand away from the scalding doorknob. She looked upon her hand, which was now burned a deep crimson and bleeding from every crack in her skin. She ignored the protesting screams in her hand, turned the knob, and pushing the door open with her shoulder. She tumbled into the room and nearly fell onto a burning rafter. She stumbled to a stop and looked up. Their house was roofed with great mahogany rafters. This one had been burnt to the ground. Hailey stepped over it cautiously, searching blindly around the room. Flames covered every bit of surface in the room. The bed was ablaze, shooting flaming arms towards the other remaining rafters.

Searching around the room, she finally saw the closet doors. Every room had a very large closet, where at least five men could stand without being pushed together. She raced towards the closet and again ignoring the flaring burn of the metal handle, threw open the doors. There, on the floor crying and sobbing but untouched by the flames, sat Lauren. She was curled in a ball, her knees to her chest. Hailey could now hear her sister’s cries and sobs. They were faint, interrupted by coughs frequently. The flames had already started spreading inside the closet, happy to find new and fresh surfaces to scorch. Hailey sped to her sister and kneeled next to her. She tried to grab her sister’s shoulder but Lauren flinched under her touch.

“It’s me Lauren. Don’t be scared, you’ll be safe in no time,” Hailey croaked out to her sister. Lauren slowly lifted her head, obviously recognizing her sister’s voice. Shock and relief warred together on her face. She finally sat up abruptly and wrapped her arms around Hailey, ignoring her burning clothes. Tears flowed from both of the sister’s eyes and they held each other close. Hailey finally pulled them apart, feeling the heat of the flames that now began to consume the closet. Out of breath, Hailey had to point to the flames and the door to make Lauren understand. She nodded and stood up hauling Hailey with her. Together, with there hands clasped, they raced from the closet. Lauren didn’t even flinch as the heat struck her unscathed skin. Already Hailey noticed little flames on her sister’s night clothes.

They slowed as they reached the door to the room. They had to be cautious, unless they wanted to be burned alive from underfoot. Hailey slowly retraced her steps down the hall, her sister’s hand in hers. They made it to the kitchen then, and they both stopped for a breath. Then they were off, blindly running through the smoke. Both girls coughed and choked on the thickening smoke. Finally, miraculously, Hailey spotted light. The front door was straight ahead. In Hailey’s heart she knew her journey would soon end. She shook away her sorrow, and pushed Lauren in front of her. She pushed Lauren with her arms, forcing her towards the door faster. Then, of all things to go wrong this night, a rafter fell from the ceiling blocking half the doorway. Hailey knew this was where she would stand for the last few moments of her life.

She looked to her sister who was looking back at her. For that moment when their eyes met, they both knew who would survive and who wouldn’t this night. Fresh tears spilled over Lauren’s eyelids. She began to resist Hailey’s arms, not wanting to leave her sister. But Hailey pushed her with all the will she had left. She gave Lauren a shove from behind, pushing her through the open section of the doorway. Lauren stumbled onto the porch, and nearly tripped down the stairs. From where she stood, Hailey saw her mother run to meet Lauren. They embraced each other, falling to the dewy grass. Hailey flinched back when the rafter that had blocked half the door fell all the way across, leaving no way to escape. Hailey was trapped in the burning house.

Through what was left of the doorway, Hailey saw her mother scoop Lauren up and turn to look at Hailey. Her eyes showed grief that knew no end. She knew her second daughter would not make it tonight. Both mother and daughter fell to the grass holding each other, their eyes never leaving Hailey’s.

From where she stood, Hailey watched as her mother stood up and began running towards the house. Lauren and a neighbor held her arms, restraining her from venturing towards the house. Hailey sent out her gratification to her beloved sister and the neighbor. She did not wish for her mother to experience this same fate. Flames from the rafter finally covered the rest of the door, blocking Hailey from seeing anymore beyond the door. She sighed greatly, relieved at the knowledge that neither her mother nor her sister would perish this night. She took one final breath and felt her will drop from her body. She let the flames and heat overcome her body completely. Her eyes blurred from tears not only caused by the heat’s sting, but by the bitter happiness she now felt.

As the gasses and flames completely enveloped her, she fell backwards, waiting for the searing pain she would feel after hitting her head. But the pain never came. In fact, just before she hit the ground, strong arms caught her. The familiarity she felt from the arms caused her to remember times when there had been thunderstorms, when she had run to her parent’s bedroom to be held by her father. She remembered when she had played on a soccer team at the age of five, and shot the winning goal. She remembered running towards the bearer of these arms and being held. As the memories flowed, with the last of her will she opened her eyes. She stared up into bright eyes she knew better than the back of her hand. She saw that smile she loved to see, the smile that had always brightened her day. The roaring flames and screams from outside were silenced as Hailey looked into the trusting and loving eyes of her long dead father. The burns and stinging heat she had felt a moment ago died away leaving her only to feel the coolness of her father’s arms.
“I’m proud of you, my sweetheart. Now come with me to a world of light,” her father whispered softly to her. As the ghost of her father stood, she allowed him to pull her with him. They were surrounded by doom, destruction, and sadness. But staring into her father’s eyes, Hailey only saw happiness and joy. As her father began to fade, she felt her own spirit fading. In an instant she felt cool, empty of sorrow or pain. She looked down to see her lifeless body on the ground behind her. She was happy to see a small sad smile had found its way to her face before she had finally perished. She turned away from her body and followed her father towards a light that had appeared ahead of them both. Tears overflowed and streaked down her face as her life was displayed before her eyes. She saw her mother, her father. They both smiled and sat with Lauren between them. Her mind’s eye took her throughout her life, showing her birthday parties, the soccer games she had played. She saw her house, unburned, filled with presents and bows. She watched as, together, her family sat happily beside one of their big Christmas trees. More images flashed before her eyes but her mind was focused on that one picture of happiness. All of her family, together, forever captured in the moment of sheer joy. She knew that when she and her father reached the light she would feel exactly the same as she had in that moment, only much better.

As her visions began to slow she saw the light growing brighter and brighter. They stood just before the blinding light, and together, holding hands, ventured into a happiness that knew no end, leaving behind all the sadness and death.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Flirb said...
Dec. 22, 2008 at 3:25 am
OMG ALLY that was the most totaly ahhhhhhh-mazing "short story" i have ever read! I mean seriously it was freakin' awsome!!! keep writing!!!!<3<3<3<3<3<3<3
Joce said...
Nov. 12, 2008 at 2:48 am
O my goodness this story brought me to tears. I LOVED IT!!! Best story i've read in a really long time. Just as good as twilight if not better haha:)I love you alli,and your story can't wait till the nxt.
Ally01 said...
Oct. 7, 2008 at 12:10 am
Hey everyone! I'm the proud writer of this story and i woudl love to hear what you guys think about my story! If anyone asks, yes i will be adding more stories! Enjoy!
Abu said...
Oct. 6, 2008 at 8:04 pm
Good interesting story. Sad ending with a twist.
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